Friday, December 21, 2012

Who Needs A Laugh?

Sometimes you just need to laugh...sometimes jus to keep from crying.

If you're like me, and NEED to take a break from the hustle & bustle of the Season, from the constant stream of negativity on the news, and from the reminder of last Friday's horrible tragedy - just take 5 minutes and give yourself permission to laugh, or at least smile.

Hope this helps.



Merry Christmas!



Friday, November 2, 2012

Spiritual - Not Political


Like many of you, I am saddened and burdened to pray for the Northeast and all those affected by the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. For those who are financially able, it is good to give to trusted organizations who can offer assistance. I wanted to establish that, so that what I'm about to say would not be taken the wrong way...

Whether you are of the impression that this storm was a wake-up call from God for our Nation, or if it was sent from the enemy to destroy us...the fact remains that despite the many prayers that went up for protection, God allowed this storm.

The Bible says that it rains on the righteous and unrighteous alike - we all know that everyone faces trials. It is in how we as Christians face a crisis like this, that sets us apart and brings glory to God.

I was watching tv this morning as the news reported that people are starting to get angry now that the initial shock of the storm has passed. They're inpatient with the long lines, and the lack of food (this is understandable, and don't get me wrong, the conditions are horrible!)

I watched as one woman cried out to the reporter "where is the government? If they don't help us, we're going to die!"

Immediately my heart was grieved.

Where do we put our trust? I can tell you right now that while the Government can help somewhat...ultimately no political party, no man or woman, no system, no amount of money, no ingenuity or man-made plan...can help us out of the mess we're in.

Our hope must be in God, and God alone!

As we humble ourselves and seek His face, then He will give us direction, provision, ideas and ingenuity, favor, and ultimately His blessing to help us in our time of need. This is promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

After I watched the news and saw the lady saying if the government didn't help them, they were going to die...I turned it off and began to pray. I also spent some time listening to praise music. Ironically one of the songs I listened to was "Still" by Hillsong (I say ironically because it talks about Jesus being "King over the flood" - this was unintentional on my part)


 Here are some of the lyrics that really jumped out at me this morning:
"Find rest my soul, in Christ alone, know His power, in quietness and trust."
 
After I finished with some praise and worship, I went to read my Bible. I felt impressed to read out of Isaiah, so I was thumbing through the different chapters. My eyes rested on Chapter 30 - the title of the chapter read "Woe to the Obstinate Nation". I thought I knew the meaning of the word "Obstinate" but I looked it up just to be sure. It means stubborn or refusing to change.

It starts out "woe to the obstinate children" - God is still calling them His children, but they have become wayward...how are they acting out?
"to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit".
 
They were trusting in Egypt to help them out of their trouble, instead of asking for God's help. This immediately reminded me of the woman crying out this morning "where is the government?" - shouldn't our cry be "God, help us"?

I went on to read that instead of listening to the prophets who tried to tell them what God was saying...they preferred lies that made them feel good.
"They say to the seers, 'see no more visions!' and to the prophets, 'give us no more visions of what is right!' Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!'"
God's response is found in Isaiah 30:12: "Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression, and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant."

This is what their response should have been (as described in Isaiah 30:15): "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."

These are similar to the words found in the lyrics from the song I just quoted. I felt like this was the message God was giving me in direct response to my heart being grieved this morning by the woman on the news.

Too many people are trusting in the Government for help - when we should be asking for God's intervention. We've misplaced our allegiance, and our trust. We've made plans, without seeking wisdom from above. In repentance and rest (faith) is our salvation, in quietness and trust, is our strength. He is our only hope!

Even after this blatant rebellion, listen to God's heart toward His people:

Isaiah 30:18-19 - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice, Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion (that's the Church), who live in Jerusalem (in this case, America) you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry out for help!"

The passage goes on to explain how He will help us in Isaiah 30:20-26. - Especially in vs. 21 where it says "
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you (God's got your back!) saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'"
 
In other words, God is going to give you step by step instructions to get you out of whatever mess we're in, IF we call out to HIM for help!

This is NOT a political argument - this is a plea for the people of God to humble themselves and pray for our Nation to turn our hearts back to God. Along with my prayers this morning, I asked that we the Church would really shine for Him - that we would be so filled with His love, compassion and POWER, that we would be a beacon of light and hope to the lost, shining a light straight to Him. I don't mean these words to sound poetic, I'm trying to give you a vision of my heart - I genuinely want to fulfill Matthew 5:13-16!
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
 
There's a lot I could say about being "salt and light", but that's a whole other blog...

Have a blessed day - and don't forget to cry out to God for the people in the Northeast, as well as our Nation as a whole.






Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Confusing "Christianeese"

Just in case you need a good laugh today

 
Christian Comedian - Michael Jr.

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Vicious Cycle of Pain

If you've lived anytime here on this earth, you have learned this lesson, probably the hard way...

Hurting people hurt people

It doesn't matter if they're in your family, school, work place,  church, or some of your closest friends...people get hurt.

Most of the time it comes through misunderstandings or miscommunication.

However, part of the problem is when people have been hurt before and instead of receiving healing, they carry their offense with them. Eventually it becomes a part of their character. They might even think "this is just the way I am" or "God made me this way".

The truth is...your pain made you that way.

Here are some patterns that often develop in wounded people:

  • They appear to want friends, but often pull away. Loneliness adds to their feelings of rejection.

  • They have a victim mentality - everything is always someone else's fault (they were hurt, they were treated unfairly, etc.)

  • The same scenario plays out over and over again - different people, same circumstances - adding more wounds to their already broken heart.

  • They are often unteachable - they only want to serve, not receive. If they were to receive, it would be from a distance (preachers, teachers, tv evangelists, etc.) Not those who are close enough to speak to them directly.

  • Under the disguise of "freedom", they reject the idea and practice of accountability.

  • While many look at the following list as "feelings" - they are the "fruit" of demonic spirits that are drawn to wounded people:
    • insecurity
    • inferiority
    • rejection
    • fear, anxiety, worry
    • jealousy/envy
    • competition/comparison
    • bitterness (a strongman developed from an unforgiving heart)

How do you break the vicious cycle? By exercising the most "Christ-like"behavior a person can portray...

Forgiveness

  • Walking in forgiveness - this means not picking up offense in the first place!
  • Letting go of every hurt that's been committed against you
  • Understanding when someone does something to hurt you that they are doing it either out of ignorance, or their own wounded heart.
  • Choosing to see the good in others, despite their feelings or actions toward you
  • Loving your enemies, blessing those who persecute you
* None of this is easy, all of it requires making a choice to do what is right, following the words of Jesus "forgiving others even as He forgives you", and you have to rely on the Holy Spirit!*

If the pain caused by another is particularly hurtful, spiteful, or heinous, you will definitely need the Holy Spirit's guidance on how to release it. You may also need to go to a Christian counselor who can walk with you through the journey.

However, most offenses start out rather small...they only turn into a HUGE problem when we refuse to deal with it!  Little offenses are like blisters, that if not dealt with, can fester and grow into a wound. The quicker we deal with hurtful situations, the least chance it has to get out of control. If you ignore it, push it down and try to pretend it never happened...it's still there, just waiting for the next offense, and then the next, until you have a gaping hole inside!

Most importantly - Pray for others!
  • Pray for those who hurt you
  • Pray for their healing and freedom
  • Pray that the person's eyes will be open to the truth
  • Pray blessings on them
  • Pray that God gives you a heavenly perspective to see what's really going on
  • Pray that He'll show you how to love them the way He loves them
  • Pray that no bitterness or unforgiveness remains in your heart toward that person

If we walk in forgiveness and not allow a foothold to the enemy, not only will we remain FREE, but we will stay open to minister that freedom to others.

...and we won't be continuing this vicious cycle

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do You Know Your A,B,C's?

Because Jesus is my Lord and Savior…I am:
Accepted                                                                         
Blessed                                                                             
Called                                                                                 
Delivered                                                                         
Equipped                                                                          
Filled
Generous                                                        
Hopeful                                                                            
Inspiring                                                                             
Joyous                                                                                
Kind                                                                                    
Loving                                                                                
Merciful                                                           
Noble
Overcomer
Peaceful
Qualified
Righteous
Sanctified
Thankful
Unique
Victorious
Wise
Xtraordinary (ok, I cheated on this one)
Yahweh’s Daughter
Zealous

Now I know my A,B, C’s – won’t you confess them along with me?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Standing on the Promises

My husband and I have been contending for specific promises that God laid on our hearts for some time now. 

We've prayed, fasted, cried out, taken a step forward, only to take two steps back, had a pity party, cried, repented from having a pity party, prayed some more, thanked God, praised God, declared, decreed, rebuked, bound the enemy, confessed any sin, broken all generational curses, forgiven any offenses...then sat still and waited on the Lord . . .

and we're still waiting -

            and we're still believing -

                    and we're still standing on the promises of God!

At times I want to sulk - I must confess my mood has been up and down lately - it's only through getting in God's presence through praise and worship that the heaviness lifts, the fear and anxiety leave, and I feel like I can stand once again. Waiting on the promises of God is no easy task. One thing I have to trust in, is the goodness of the Lord! He is faithful.

I receive the "Spirit of Prophesy Bulletin" by Bill and Marsha Burns every weekday - The one I got earlier this week hit me like a brick upside my hard head and was my wake-up call.

"The stand that you have taken against the enemy is being challenged. Now you must decide what to do about that. Will you just sit down in defeat because your ground is too hard to hold? Or, will you rise up in faith and authority to re-establish and maintain your victory? The choice is yours, but I am with you and behind you to gain and keep the victory, says the Lord." 
Then they ended the Bulletin with this Scripture and it really ministered me:
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith." - 1 John 5:4

We often hear/read this Scripture and focus on the end - we make it all about "our faith". This time when I read it, I really saw the first part "whatever is born of God overcomes the world" - I thought, if my plans, dreams, and desires are really "born of God" - come from His heart and His will...they will overcome the world - guaranteed!

If God is for us - nothing can stop us!

           If God is with us, who can be against us?

                       Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I saw this picture and was so blessed because it reminds me of how our Heavenly Father's cares for His children.



"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." - Psalm 91:4

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Restoration

Years ago I did a Bible study on the names of God that describe His many attributes. One name I learned was "El Gemolah", which means the "God of Recompense" (Jer. 51:56) - the God who pays back. In some cases, He pays back those who have done wrong (Law of sowing and reaping), while other times, He's the God who pays back because He restores what the enemy has stolen from His children.
I was led this morning to read the story in 2 Kings 8 about the Shunammite woman's land. She's the same one who prepared a room for Elisha. If you know the story, you remember that Elisha prayed for her (even though she had been barren) to have a son and then he later died. She went to find Elisha and he prayed for her dead son and brought him back to life.

We see in 2 Kings 8 that there is another chapter to her story.

Elisha tells her:
"Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine; and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years."
I don't know about you, but I can certainly imagine what kind of emotions she might have been experiencing. The Shunammite woman was generous, god-fearing, and obedient (2 Kings 4:8-37), she'd already been through a great trial. Yet she found herself and her family having to leave everything behind and go live in a foreign land for seven years.
At times, whether through the injustice of the enemy stealing something from us, or God just directing our path in a different direction that we can't fully understand, we find ourselves facing what appears to be great loss. It might look as if we're going backwards away from what we thought was His will (and forcing us to live a season in a "foreign land", not where we know we ultimately belong). 
That's why I love how this story ends - it is a testimony to the faithfulness of God!
"It came to pass at the end of the seven years..." - 2 Kings 8:3 - Praise God, there is always an appointed end to your season of testing and trial.
The woman returned from the land of the Philistines and went to the King prepared to beg for her land back. What she didn't know was that God had already gone before her to set into motion a plan for restoration. At the very moment she appeared before the King, he was having a conversation with Elisha's servant answering questions about the miracles Elisha had performed, her miracle in particular! Gehazi, Elisha's servant, says
"My lord, o King, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life."
Talk about awesome timing!  The Shunammite woman was able to tell the King all about what Elisha had done. Then the King appointed an officer to help her and he commanded
"Restore all that was hers and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now."
God doesn't just give back what we lost- when He restores, He gives more than you had before!

That is the God of Recompense!
Joel 2:25 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Nothing Compares

My family has seen God's supernatural provision in some areas over the last month and we praise Him for His faithfulness.
Friends that God brought into my life have recently blessed me in ways that truly humbled me and I'm so grateful.

My husband and children are all well, and my kids are eagerly awaiting the end of another school year this Friday! They passed the EOG tests and are now rising 7th and 5th graders.

My family was blessed to be able to go to my Dad's beach house over Memorial Day weekend...the first time the WHOLE family has gone together in a long time, and we had a blast.

This weekend I was privileged to be the Speaker at a women's meeting where I saw the power of God move in the hearts of several ladies and bring healing.

Dreams and desires that have been dormant for years are beginning to surface and come into reality.

and yet...out of all these things, which I'm truly grateful for....not one of them in any way compares to His presence!  


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Great Exchange

I've been reflecting on the love of God these last couple of weeks and it's caused me to take a fresh look at His grace. I think this has been good for me...

You know how when you first get saved and you remember how much Jesus did for you on the cross because you were so aware of your sin? You knew you needed a Savior and grace was so evident because you didn't deserve anything, yet you felt God's love and peace flood your heart.  (If you've never experienced the presence of God is this way, I pray you stop right now and ask Him to reveal Himself to you!)

Often in our journey with the Lord, somewhere along the way,we begin to drift away from grace. In an effort to please Him, we can easily fall for the works mentality trap. This is where the Galatians found themselves when Paul called them "foolish":
"Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human strength? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? - Gal. 3:2-5
He goes on to talk about how Abraham believed what God told him, and it was accredited to him as righteousness. So we see that righteousness has to do with faith, not works. Of course we balance that out in James where it says that faith without deeds is dead, but it starts with believing! In other words, we do not EARN righteousness, we believe it and receive it.

Another example is Eph. 2:1-9
 In verses 8 & 9 it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
So we're not to boast or brag as if we did anything good on our own. That would make us a modern day Pharisee.

And finally, here is one of my favorite Scriptures that explains what an insult it would be for anyone to think they could be good enough to earn God's love:

"I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die." - Gal. 2:21

How cruel would that be for Jesus to have died such a terrible, painful death, if there was another way to Heaven? But we know from Jesus own mouth that He alone is the way, the truth and the life, and no man can get to the Father except by Him.

Why do you think it's so natural for people to disregard grace?  You would think they would welcome it...after all, the gospel means "good news". Even Christians who readily receive it, sometimes later wander back to trying to measure up on their own...we fall for the lies of the enemy that tell us that God is unhappy with us if we're not "doing", or that it ties in with our performance.

Human nature is completely opposite from God's way - God's way was so loving, so selfless, so unconditional, it boggles the mind! In fact, the cross seems foolish to the natural mind and can not be understood except by the Holy Spirit's revelation. It's not something we look at when we first receive Christ and then leave it behind to go onto "deeper truths". Everything was accomplished at the cross!

I've come to think of it as the "Great Exchange" and I think this explains why it's so difficult at times to accept, because it seems too good to be true.

We exchange...
  • our sin for His righteousness
  • our pain for His miraculous healing
  • our fear for His peace
  • our shame for His purity
  • our failures for His plan for us
  • our heavy burdens for His yoke that is easy and light
  • our weakness for His power
  • our chains for His freedom!
On and on it goes - every problem, resolved - every dirty emotion or mindset, wiped clean, every lie of the enemy exposed by the truth...and we do it all by grace through faith, just receiving and believing.

While most things in life that sound that easy are too good to be true, the Gospel is one thing that is too good not to be believed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Price and Pay-Off of Popularity

As a Mom to two boys, I assumed that I would escape the drama of hearing my kids beg for the latest trend in fashion...wrong! I've found that boys can be just as picky about what they're wearing, only it's a plea for the latest athletic wear...if I had a dollar for every time I've heard "every body's wearing them!" then I might actually be able to afford these overpriced gym clothes. Name brands like UnderArmor, Nike, & Reebok...The price to fit-in is too high in my opinion.
It's not just about what's on the outside - this "people pleasing" phenomenon spreads into
....how we think,
..........what we believe,
 ...............................and how we live our lives.

Culture, fueled by the "popular" and the "majority" decides what is acceptable.  Unfortunately, this is evident even in the church, where we sometimes struggle to fit God's Word into a nice little package that doesn't offend anyone. After all, if we want to truly be accepted, we can't just look the part, but must match our ideologies with what's popular. Otherwise, we stand the risk of being labeled with a less than flattering title.

Understandably this is a problem for Christians, who are called to be light in a dark world. Popularity is not our goal, and should not be confused with influence. We want to be people who make a difference, but it must be done without compromising the truth. Otherwise, we could fall into the trap called "the fear of man". Fearing man's opinion above God's is called a "snare" (Prov. 29:25).
As always, it is very important that we speak this truth in LOVE!!!  Culture changes over the years based on what is now acceptable. God's Word never changes. This can cause a problem when the two collide...

Why is the majority so hostile to those who don't conform? 

Last Sunday our Pastor started a series from the Book of Esther. As he was reading the Scriptures for his sermon, this verse jumped out at me.
"All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor." - Esther 3:2
While this was not the subject of his teaching, I was overwhelmed by the similarity of Esther & Mordecai's plight to what we as Christians face today.
As a Jew, Mordecai was to bow down to God alone - so he was following his conscience to obey God's law rather than the kings. The Scripture goes on to say:
"When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes." - Esther 3:5-6
How is this similar to what Christians face today?

At times the world's way of thinking goes against what God has commanded of us - in these moments, whom should we obey? When we follow our conscience to obey God's Word, as Mordecai did, we go against the status qua and make many enemies. Just as Haman wasn't satisfied with punishing Mordecai alone, but rather made plants to wipe out the entire Jewish race, so our enemy (the devil) wants to silence the voice of all Christians who are not bowing to his plan.

In the New Testament, we see that while Jesus loved the people, He was NOT concerned with pleasing them:
  • Jesus purposely healed on the Sabbath just to shake up the religious leaders (Mark 3:1-6)
  • He turned over the money tables in the Temple (John 2:15)
  • He cast out demons and sent them into the pigs, who then jumped off a cliff. Those tending the pigs went and told the townspeople, who then begged for Jesus to leave. (Mark 5:17) They seemed unhappy that he delivered a man and let the demons destroy the pigs (all about money)
  • Jesus taught things that the people said were too hard to follow, like "eating his flesh and drinking his blood". Many of His disciples left. Jesus just asked "does this offend you?" Upon seeing some leave, He simply asked the Twelve "Do you want to leave too?" (John 6:54-67)
These are just some examples - In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36 that He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword. He wasn't speaking literally, but instead making the point that His message would be a dividing factor, between those who would accept Him and those who would not. Further evidence corresponding with this Scripture is found in 2 Cor. 2:15:
"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life..."
Even with all of this...Jesus was love epitomized. He laid down His life for us while we were still sinners - who could love someone more than that?
So we see, loving someone doesn't mean that we don't speak the truth that at times is not widely accepted. It doesn't mean that you won't get persecuted or asked to leave, or have people turn away from you because you're misunderstood.

What is the price and pay-off of popularity?
  • Price = Conforming to the world's system and turning your back on God's truth puts spiritual blinders on your eyes and can harden your heart to God's plan for your life.
  • Pay-off = Momentary recognition, but with no eternal value 
What is the price and pay-off for following God's Word?
  • Price = Persecution - John 15:20 says "Do you remember what I told you? 'A slave is not greater than the master.' Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you."
  • Pay-Off = Reward - Matthew 5:10-12 - "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
  • Pay-Off = Good company - you are following in the shoes of the prophets, disciples, and other Believers who weren't ashamed to stand up for the Gospel (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 12:1)
Let's end with this decision:

Joshua 24:15 asks for the people to choose this day whom they will serve...either the gods of their ancestors, or the Lord. He said, "But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Based on the above Scripture, the decision for us today is:
Will you follow the culture and seek man's approval? Will you sacrifice God's truth for being accepted? Will you fear man more than God?

Or will you not be ashamed of the Gospel, and of God's Word, and speak the truth in love?


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Be Careful What You Say

 If ever there was a lesson on being careful what you say, lest it come true...this was it!!!

I was getting ready for church one Sundays not too long ago - I was super excited that I was able to "fit" into a pair of slacks that I hadn't worn in awhile. As I came downstairs, my husband told me I looked nice. I said "thanks, I only hope I don't have to bend over or I'll probably split my pants."

Yep, I'm sure you see where this is going...

We were going to a flea market after church and I didn't want to wear my church clothes, so I brought a change of clothes.  When I went to the car to get my clothes I noticed it wasn't as warm as I thought it was going to be. So I decided to keep on the long pants and just change my blouse, and dress shoes to flip flops. I went to the restroom and when I bent over to pick up my dress shoes, apparently my earlier prediction came true...only I didn't notice.

I then left the church restroom located on one side of the building near the baptismal lobby, and walked all the way down the hallway, past the nursuries, into the Fellowship Hall and kitchen area, outside to the parking lot...stopped to talk to someone, gave them a hug, and finally went to my car.

NO ONE TOLD ME I HAD A HUGE SPLIT IN MY PANTS!

We stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch on the way to the flea market. I was standing in line with my husband when a lady behind me said "Ma'am, did you know you had a split in your pants?" Like I would knowingly be walking around nonchalant about my underwear showing for all the world to see.

I very calmly said, "no, I didn't realize that." My husband who heard this conversation takes a look behind me and says "wow, you do have a large split in your pants!"

Already completely humiliated, but choosing not to panic, I thanked the lady for informing me of the split, turned to my husband and finished giving him my order. Then I excused myself to go out to the car and put on my Capri pants that it was too cold to be wearing.

The thought occurred to me that I really didn't want to take the pants and traipse through the restaurant to the bathroom to change since I would be once again parading my panties in front of everyone. I had no other alternative but to dress in the car. This was no easy task I can tell you that! I did eventually change without further incident and returned to the restaurant. My husband and the lady who informed me of my dilemma were still in line (it hadn't really moved at all, so it's safe to say that the term "fast food" did NOT apply).

When the lady saw that I came in wearing different pants she said "well that was fast (it wasn't really) and she commented how convenient it was that I had another pair of pants. She gave me credit for it almost as if I was some girl scout who always came prepared for any situation. Maybe that's not a bad idea to always keep an extra set of clothes in the car for an emergency. I used to always carry extra clothes for my children...who would of thought that I would need to do the same for myself???

After it was all said and done - I realized that I set this whole thing in motion that very morning when I spoke those fateful words "I hope I don't have to bend over or I might split my pants." It was a self-fulfilling prophesy, LOL  Of course it doesn't help to keep eating at fast food restaurants either. Don't think I missed the irony of someone who splits their pants and doesn't even run out to change before placing their food order.

The other lesson I've learned from this ordeal is...

Church people don't tell you embarrassing things!!!

Hope this gave you a little chuckle. After all, what's the point of an embarrassing moment if you can't use it to brighton someone's day. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's In A Name?

About a month ago I heard the end of a news report talking about a growing trend called "name remorse". Then I ran across this article in "Shine by Yahoo" asking "Do You Have Baby Name Remorse?"  Apparently they've conducted a poll and a number of people, for a variety of different reasons, are second guessing the name they picked for their child.

The news program explained that parents were afraid Universities and Businesses were less likely to take candidates with certain names seriously.

The Shine article had this to say:
"A new poll, conducted by yourdomainename.com, found that almost one tenth of parents regret the name they've given their child. That's up from 3 percent compared to polls conducted in recent years. So what's with all the remorse? Two words: Peer pressure. More than half of the regretful parents surveyed said they opted for names that were trendy or fashionable (Apple, anyone?) in the moment. Thirty-two percent said their child's name ended up being more common then they first imagined."
The article went on to say:
"Just as our desire for interesting names is rising, so too is our obsession with choosing the right name," Laura Wattenburg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard" tells The Guardian "Parents willing to go out and change a name is becoming more common because they are conscious they are sending their child out into a competitive landscape, so branding them for success makes sense. If the brand name doesn't work in the first instance, change it."
I find this all very interesting, and even more...disturbing
First of all, I'm not even sure what to say about the fact that parents are looking at their kids as someone they need to "brand for success"???  Or that they admit to falling under peer pressure when deciding something as important as the name of their offspring. Lastly, I am concerned about this need for everyone to prove that they are an original (note the above comment about the names being "common")  But these issues are for a whole different blog altogether...

The main thought I had when I heard this report was the same question posed by Shakespeare himself... "What's In A Name?"

Remember how the names in the Bible had purpose. Names were very important and the meaning behind them was well thought out to match the person or situation. Take for example the Bible story in Ruth about her mother-in-law Naomi (who's name meant "pleasant, lovely"). Naomi had such a hard life, that as she returned to Israel a widower with no hope, she changed her name to "Mara", which meant "bitter".   She eventually changed her name back as God restored her.

Many times a person's name was itself a prophetic word that proclaimed their destiny. For this reason, on some occasions, God found it necessary to change the names of His servants.

  • God changed Abram's name to "Abraham" - (Father of many Nations)

  • He changed Jacob (which meant "deceiver") to Israel (contended with God)

  • Saul became Paul after his conversion

  • Simon was changed to Peter (after his revelation about Jesus being the Messiah)

But out of all the names ever given, there is one name that stands above - the name of Jesus!

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  - Philippians 2:9-11
Out of all the names that Jesus goes by, such as Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Prince of Peace, etc...there are names that describe Him as He returns to earth in victory - they are:

  • Faithful & True
  • The Word of God
  • King of kings
But did you know that Jesus has a secret name? It's written on Him and only He knows what it is! I assume it will be revealed when He returns.


"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:   king of kings and lord of lords." - Revelation 19:11-16



God is in the name-changing, and life-changing business! What's in a name? There is a great deal of importance in a name. If you belong to Jesus, you come in the power and authority of HIS name.... Not only that, God knows your name (He knows who you really are, the person He created you to be).


"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine'" - Isaiah 43:1




Saturday, March 31, 2012

Christian Symbols On Display

There is a place in Groom, TX, right off of Highway I-40, where someone donated land for a metal sculptor to display several pieces of art. This is no ordinary art, and it gets the attention of people from all around, with several visitors stopping to look and take pictures.

It's the story of Jesus resurrection played out in metal statues with powerful words on tablets underneath. I wanted to share the email I received with some of these pictures, along with a description of our incredible Savior - Jesus Christ, who defied all of natural laws...

  • Chemistry - He turned water into wine

  • Biology - He was born without natural conception

  • Physics - He disproved the Law of Gravity when He walked on water and then later, ascended into Heaven

  • Economics - He disproved the Law of Diminishing Return by feeding 5,000 people with 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread

  • Medicine - He cured the sick and the blind without administering a single dose of drugs

  • History - He is the beginning and the end

  • Government - He's the Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace and the government is upon His shoulders

  • Religion - He's the only way to get to the Father


 Last Supper
 


Empty tomb!!! 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Window Shopping

I'm not like a lot of women...I must confess...I don't like to window shop. If you're not familiar with the term - it's where you go to the mall or store of your choice to browse, with no intention of buying anything - you just like to look.
Over the years, people (namely my husband) have gotten the impression that this means I don't like new things.  Wrong! I love new things and would very much enjoy shopping, if I had the money to purchase what I want. I've always thought, "window shopping when you can't afford to buy it is not only a waste of time, but borders on torture."
So this morning I was watching a Christian television show where the Host was interviewing a lady giving her testimony of several "God encounters" that have changed her life. I was crying, as I often do when I watch these shows, and I could feel this desire deep inside that wanted what she was describing.
Immediately I imagined myself standing on the sidewalk staring into a big window of a store. I was gazing at all the beautiful items I desperately wanted but felt I couldn't have. Unknowingly I was standing back watching God do amazing things for other people with the deception that He wouldn't do the same for me.
The Lord spoke to my spirit and said "why are you window shopping for the things I will freely give you? Go into the store, you can have them." I knew that He was telling me not to fear shopping in His "Heavenly storehouse" because the price had already been paid.
So I stopped watching the show (it was taped so I paused it) and I prayed "Lord, I'm going into the store and I want it all!"

Without missing a beat, I heard this gentle voice say "you don't need it all, only those things that are a perfect fit for YOU".
I began to praise Him because not only does He want to give me good gifts, but they are made especially for ME.
  • God knows my size (how much I can handle)
  • He knows my taste (He gives me the desires of my heart because as I abide in Him, my will matches His)
  • He knows the appropriate clothes for the season I'm in
I still don't like to "window" shop, especially for "spiritual gifts". I'd rather just step in and get what I need - for FREE!
Matthew 7:11 - "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

God's Garden


Isaiah 61:3 – “…They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

I’m not sure if Spring is “officially” here – but I can see the evidence of its arrival with all the wonderful trees and flowers in bloom. It’s the time of year that shows off the hard work of all the gardeners who took the time to plant.

Anyone who has a green thumb (which I unfortunately do NOT), knows that it takes a lot of work to plant and cultivate a healthy, thriving garden that produces a good crop.  I’m very limited in my knowledge of gardening, but a couple of things seem pretty clear even to me: 
1)    You get exactly what you plant – you don’t plant apple seeds and expect pears

2)    While the quality of the crop depends on a variety of things, it must start with good seeds.
The Bible has a lot to say about seeds…most importantly it speaks of the “incorruptible seed” …of good quality that cannot be destroyed, never fails, and never ends.

·        Luke 8:11 says the seed is the Word of God

·        1 Peter 1:23 states this seed endures forever

·        Gal. 3:16 declares Jesus is the seed (who is also known as the Word)

·        1 John 3:9 proclaims that the seed (Jesus) lives inside of you if you are born again.

·    Matt. 13:38 says we are good seeds in the Kingdom of God
·        Gal. 3:29 explains we are Abraham’s seed and therefore heirs according to the promise
·        Matt. 13:31 uses a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the seed that was sown, and we are the field. This seed was small at first, but has the promise of growth and great value.
·        Matt. 17:20 says that we only need faith like a mustard seed to speak to our mountain and see it move!
So we see that Jesus and the Word are both incorruptible seed that lives inside of everyone who’s born again. Furthermore, through this same seed, we are heirs of a great inheritance and members of a good Kingdom – a Kingdom that will continue to grow, along with our faith (even though it may have started out as small as a mustard seed).
A Gardening Lesson from the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13):

In the natural, gardening can be tricky. It depends on protection from the birds and wildlife stealing your seed before it has a chance to take root. You need to prepare your soil so it’s healthy and soft, not hard and rocky. You must rely on the hope of good weather, protection against both freezing conditions or extreme heat and drought.   

In comparison, spiritually speaking – to produce the “fruit” that is described in Gal. 5:22, you must protect yourself from predators of the truth that would come to steal your seed. You need to keep the seed of the Word from being exposed to the harmful elements that would try to destroy your faith. Most importantly, you should make sure you prepare the soil of your heart to receive this incorruptible seed.

Now here is the most exciting part for me as I think about God’s gardening skills…
Isaiah 55:10-11 – “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

My NKJ Study Bible notes explain this passage like this: “God’s promises and plans (words) are as sure of fulfillment as the fact that it rains and snows.”

I have learned that the Word of God can be trusted – it is indeed incorruptible seed. If this perfect seed is sown into a heart “with good soil, it WILL produce the harvest or result it was sent to accomplish.

As you enjoy the beauty and color of the blooming flowers and trees this Spring, may it be a reminder that YOU are God’s garden. He planted His greatest seed, Jesus, in your heart. By yielding to His Spirit, you will produce good fruit for His glory.

Friday, February 24, 2012

To Be Carefree

Even though the calendar says February...the weather seems to be confused. Where I live, the high today is 75 degrees (where the average for this time of year is in the low 50's). The flowers are already starting to bloom. As I'm sitting here typing, I have my door open and I can hear the birds chirping.  Abby (my 6 yr. old Lhasa Apso) is staring out the glass storm dorm at all the squirrels chasing one another, hoping to get out so she can chase them.

It's like Spring is in the air...only it's still winter. Tonight a cold front is moving through and they are predicting some severe weather. At this moment, you would never know that storms are headed this way. All of nature out my window is busy with activity and seems to be completely carefree.

Carefree would be a wonderful feeling. Is that even possible?  Surely with all the problems and  burdens of this life, it's unobtainable...or is it?
  • Matthew 11:28-30 - "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 
  • Matthew 6:26  - "Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?" 
  • 1 Peter 5:7 - "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 
  • Psalm 55:22 - "Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
I'm reminded that my life is not my own - I am not responsible for it's outcome if I truly put my trust in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My only responsibility is to be obedient. I'm told not to worry or be anxious, especially concerning my "needs" (Phil. 4:6, Mt. 6:25, Luke 12:22).

So I take my que from nature, and I will place my trust in the one who created me to take care of everything I need. He is able to handle any storms that are headed our way.

I don't believe I'll be "carefree" in that I'll ever have an absence of trials...but I can be free from my cares as I learn to constantly hand them over to Jesus, in exchange for His peace.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Problem or Opportunity?

Are you facing a huge problem? Or is it an opportunity for God to show His power and glory?
What is the difference? It’s a fine line, and very important which side you’re on, especially when “everything is on the line”.
Here’s what makes the difference . . .Perspective
How you view your circumstances makes all the difference, because how you see things determines how you react. You see things through the lens of faith or fear, God’s way, or the world’s way, from a “heavenly perspective or the earthy realm”)
Remember these examples from the Bible:
·        2 Kings 6:15-17 – “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do’? the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
I pray that God would open our eyes beyond the physical to see what’s really going on in the supernatural realm.
·        Numbers 13:31 – Ten spies were sent out, eight had this report “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” In contrast, Joshua and Caleb had this report: Numbers 13:30 – “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
They saw the same situation, but with very different perspectives – all based on their view of themselves, AND of God.
The Bible says that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus – so spiritually speaking our view should be looking down on our circumstances with clear direction. If we’re looking around, we’re only seeing earthly solutions. However Psalm 121:1-2 says...
“I will lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth.”
It’s our choice…we choose what to focus on, and it will affect our outcome.
Let’s look at one last example – Peter and his famous “walking on water” moment.  First of all, you have to give Peter a lot of credit for getting out of the boat. I believe it pleased the Lord to for Peter to ask if he could come to Him on the water. Jesus responded “come” and Peter was defying the natural laws of the earth by walking on water as long as he focused on going toward Jesus. It wasn’t until he heard the wind and waves and allowed a place for fear and unbelief that he began to sink.  What started out as a great moment of faith, ended with Jesus asking Peter, “why did you doubt?” I don’t believe Jesus was being hard on him. I think He really wanted to encourage Peter that he was, and can do the impossible! It just takes keeping our eyes on Him so we give no place for the enemy to bring doubt and unbelief. We know that those are the weapons the enemy uses to keep us double minded and unstable in all our ways (James 1:8) – rendering us ineffective.
If we are looking at Jesus, but still don’t have clear direction, the Bible promises that we can ask for wisdom, and He will give it to us generously (James 1:5).
Lastly, I want you to imagine how you think God views your circumstances? Does it line up with what the Scripture says? Look at the following verses and see it from God’s perspective.
·        He warned us that in this world, we would have trouble...but not to be afraid because He’s overcome the world. (John 16:33)
·        He said nothing was impossible to those who believe (Luke 1:37, Matt. 17:20)
·        He said we’d become mature and lack nothing if we allowed hardship to produce perseverance in us. (James 1:2-3)
·        He said that He would work in every situation for the good of those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:28)
·        He promised blessing when we’re persecuted and treated badly because we follow Him (Matt. 5:11)
The list goes on and on…the point is that God cares about us and everything we’re going through!  He wants to carry our burdens, in exchange for the life He ordained for us. He desires for His people to cast every care on Him, because He cares for us.
Our only responsibilities are:
Ø  Seek -  (Matt. 6:33; Matt. 7:7)

Ø  Pray - (Phil 4:6)

Ø  Trust  - (Prov. 3:5-6)

Ø  Obey  - (Deut. 30:15-16; 1 Sam. 15:22)